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Rare Collection of Alice in Wonderland Books to Go on Sale

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In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the UK’s largest rare bookseller, Peter Harrington, is holding an exhibition and sale of 69 rare books.

The show, called The Works of Lewis Carroll from the library of an English bibliophile, showcases the collection of an anonymous Alice fan who collected Lewis Carroll’s work over the course of 40 years, according to The Telegraph. Now, at the age of 80, he has chosen to sell the collection.

That means Alice collectors have a chance to own items ranging from a first edition to an unpublished acrostic poem to a leaflet that “would be inserted into editions ‘for child readers’,” and many books and letters inscribed by the author himself.

Carroll, whose real name was Charles Dodgson, was well aware of his books’ appeal. “There were auctions during his lifetime, similar to how J.K. Rowling’s books are now,” bookseller Peter Harrington told The Telegraph. “Alice was always highly collectable.”

For those looking to start their collection, up for grabs is an 1877 sixth edition of the book inscribed to Rhoda Liddell, Alice’s youngest sister. The book has a rare white binding, which, according to The Telegraph was Carroll’s preferred choice for his closest friends. The book is priced at $61,000 (£42,500).

Also up for sale is a first edition of Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland, bound in cloth, and printed in 1866—a year when only 4,000 copies were published. The price tag for owning that piece of publishing history is $83,700 (£57,500).

Alice experts will know that 1866 is actually the second year that the book was in publication. In June 1865, 2,000 copies of the book were published, only to be withdrawn a month later when Dodgson discovered that illustrator John Tinniel was unhappy with the quality of the prints. Today, only 23 of these so-called “1865 Alice’s” are known to exist. They rarely come to market and when they do, typically sell for well over a million dollars.


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